A/N: This isn't brief, I'm telling you guys right now. I wanted to perfect this one last part so badly that it ended up being quite long. Even now, I'm still unsure about if I did a good job and if it did the rest of this story justice. I hope it did. Hope I made it believable and everything.
Well, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the finale of Patient Confidentiality.
Over the next two years, Amelia worked diligently at her Arkham job that helped earn her acclaim. Her report on Jonathan Crane had been read first by her supervisor who then recommended it to the director. He ended up being so pleased with Amelia's keen observations and insights that he suggested a pay raise was in order. Along with the generous raise, she received additional employee benefits. Despite the raves and positive attention over her, she chose to stay here and not open up her own private practice. Unconsciously, she remained at Arkham due to the possibility of seeing someone again. However, she fervently denied this to herself. A man would have no correlation with her career choices or anything else.
What she learned over the two years was not to hurl herself too forcefully into her work and research. Amelia went out of her way to set aside quality time with her family and friends alike. She stuck with Cate, Jody, and Liz, and they shared many fun, stress-free evenings together at various hot spots in Gotham. There, she attracted the attention of a few more men, two of whom she opted to go out with. But only once—that was her new limit. She behaved in a less cool, less aloof way toward them, but she ultimately wouldn't have proper chemistry with them.
In private, she would admit to herself that after Jonathan, it felt as though a switch had been turned off. Now, she couldn't possibly attribute it to adolescent trauma but a completely different factor entirely.
In the six months after she'd last seen him, Amelia spotted his name (or, rather, that and his villain alias) in The Gotham Daily but not for reasons she'd anticipated. Part of her had worried that he'd been apprehended and placed back in Arkham. Instead, he dutifully appeared on court orders to testify against Harvey Dent. Strangely enough, he didn't cooperate. The report stated in actuality that Crane had gone off on a full-scale rant when prosecuted.
He feigned not knowing anything, choosing to discuss his theories as to why there had to be so much publicity over the Two-Face case. Wisely, he didn't allude to any other villains he'd indirectly sold his toxin to. He kept incessantly bringing up fear but also, in the journalist's words, "antagonizing the prosecutor."
When she'd come across that, Amelia had let slip a little smile, somewhat bemused as to the reason but deeming it pleasing nonetheless. Jonathan knew vicariously through his man that she'd once dated that prosecutor Mark Young. He must have, else why would he do this? That day, she wondered if he thought of her.
The remainder of the story read that the judge disgustedly released Crane from the stand with the latter declaring he wasn't that stable in mind at the moment. Basically, he pretended to be extremely insane. Of course, only Amelia sensed that that courtroom stunt had been an act, his satire on the court system in general. She admired him for it.
Apart from that, unfortunately, she heard no further news of him but suspected he was behind another story about two weeks after the Dent case article. Melinda Schwartz-Hill, the socialite that her high school tormentor had wed, filed for divorce from her husband of three years. And dropped the "Hill", naturally.
Now, that had immensely intrigued Amelia.
Apparently, one night, Cody returned home drunk from a night of social partying with the baseball team and yet paranoid. He was neither an angry nor content drunk but a fearful one. According to Schwartz, he blabbed on and on regarding cockroaches and how they were set on destroying him.
Lightly concerned (though Amelia speculated the woman's disdain), she suggested therapy and hospital visits. Soon, within a space of a month, those bills started piling up with Cody not being entirely cured. Fed up with how much money she was wasting along with a deteriorating marriage (Cody had been caught in a mild cheating scandal about eight months before), Schwartz divorced him. The divorce ended up being finalized a year later, according to yet another edition of The Gotham Daily under the Entertainment section, with her walking out with most of the assets.
As for Cody Hill, he went from a multi-millionaire to a man with a paltry $50,000 left in assets. Still plenty of money but what a fall from grace. He'd had to sell his precious baseball team to someone richer and more powerful, some man in the computer industry from what Amelia skimmed through in the paper. He had received his karmic justice, and there was nothing more she could ask for than his current circumstances.
Now, if Jonathan had been involved with Cody's paranoia that uncannily led to his subsequent divorce (though he was never questioned or connected to this), then she didn't know what she would feel. Yet, somehow, gratitude would probably describe her feelings toward the matter accurately. Granted, the action was rather extreme, but she could never hate him for it. On the contrary, she was quite flattered by the gesture, which proved he cared in his way.
And since only Melinda Schwartz had witnessed her then soon-to-be ex-husband agitated, there was no circumstantial evidence that this was Jonathan's work. There was really no proof. Commissioner Gordon could have suspected, but where was the trail? Cunning Jonathan, too intelligent not to leave traces of what he'd done to Cody Hill, not physical ones at any rate.
Regardless of whether he committed the act or not, this now brought Amelia to present day. At twenty-eight, she was still single, but that was something she could shrug off. If she found the right man, she would in time. But, it wasn't a pressing issue. Her mother hadn't gotten married until she was twenty-nine.
There would be several years yet, if she ever chose to marry, for she was in the prime of life. Best of all, she'd considerably lessened her workaholic tendencies in favor of casually chatting with other co-workers and good-naturedly greeting them in the halls. In such a gloomy atmosphere as Arkham, it was always nice to distribute some vestige of cheerfulness to others once in a while.
It was true that she had become outwardly friendlier, warmer, but she supposed that that was who she was on the inside. Something had held her back before. Maybe it had stemmed from her chilling high school episode. All she knew was that Jonathan had unintentionally altered her…but for the better. Or maybe she'd changed herself.
It didn't matter. Amelia finally found her place in the world as a psychiatrist helping people, and she wouldn't have picked a different path. She regretted nothing these days…for the most part.
One Tuesday in May, after she'd eaten lunch in the cafeteria, she resolved to take advantage of the rest of her lunch break by grocery shopping. She ran low on milk again but also wanted to test out this veggie kebab recipe Cate had given her for tonight's supper. Such a middle-aged (though she wasn't, of course) woman thing to do but why not?
As she drove to the grocery store, she thought she spotted a dark-haired man in a suit striding down a nearby sidewalk. She glanced at him, did not recognize the face in that millisecond, and sighed wearily.
This was the one unhealthy habit she had, not smoking, not drinking, or even consuming that much caffeine any more. It was that whenever she stumbled across a dark-haired man, she thought it would be…well, him. She saw him everywhere: at Starbucks when she did appear, whatever clothing store she'd shop at, at the bank, and even at work, as illogical as that was.
Apart from that, she felt relatively sane when he wouldn't haunt her thoughts like he did.
When she arrived at the store, Amelia moved fairly quickly toward the dairy aisle, ready to get her shopping out of the way and be back at Arkham on time. Approaching the milk section, she tripped to a halt all of a sudden, which made her wobbly in her black pumps.
A very tall dark-haired man stood with his back toward her, surveying the yogurt section. A cart was nearby, containing things like bread, fruit, and vegetables.
Don't do this again, she scolded herself. It won't be him like it wasn't him a hundred times before. He could be anywhere in this city. Hmph, to this man's credit, at least he's a healthy eater. And striking.
Deliberately making sure she wasn't visibly acknowledging him, she reached out and took a couple half-gallons for herself and then a full gallon. Then again, she could consider him as potential as long as this wasn't Mark Young she'd briefly ogled. Wouldn't that be ironic, seeing him at the stupid dairy section again? She wondered how his relationship with the Spanish model (whom she'd dubbed Juanita in her mind) had worked out. Ah, well, she hadn't talked to him these two years for a reason. It was because he'd turned out to be somewhat haughty in his own lawyer way, and she could perhaps introduce herself to this other…
She froze, fingers inadvertently twitching in front of yet another half-gallon she'd contemplated getting (it was a three for one sale, after all). That voice…That was the voice she'd ended up loving to hear those two years ago, as smooth and rich and deep as it had ever been. Her heart faintly fluttered in her chest at that sound, so musical.
Nonetheless, Amelia muttered, "It's not him. It can't be him."
Contrary to her attempt at rationalizing, she stood up from her crouching position, lifting her gaze to…
…Stunningly captivating blue eyes.
He leaned against his cart, arms crossed, and piercingly stared at her with those intensely vivid eyes. Dressed in black slacks and a crisp white shirt with rolled-up sleeves along with a slightly loosened tie, he appeared to be in work clothes. Either that or he was irrelevantly well-dressed.
So many emotions seized hold of her and overwhelmed her that Amelia stayed immobile.
And then, she briskly walked toward him, eyes filling up. She didn't know if she would cry or laugh or scream. Bubbling over with emotion, she stopped to merely look at him, take him in to make up for the time that had passed. He wore glasses like he'd used to according to another one of Cate's descriptions of him.
"J-Jonathan." Ashamed of the tremor in her voice, she looked away from him but not for long.
Jonathan cleared his throat before speaking haltingly, "It's been a long time. A very long time."
"It has," Amelia agreed, trying as hard as she could to rein in her nervous agitation at seeing him again and like this. It impacted her to the point that she shook. And she couldn't explain why.
Her questions burst out of her. "Why did you leave me that night? Why didn't you try to find me? What have you been doing? How have you been doing? OK?"
The situation automatically became less tense when Jonathan's lips twitched, and there were little smile lines crawling under his eyes. She found she rather liked him with his face that amused.
He abashedly rubbed the back of his neck. "All I have to say regarding that night is that I…I didn't entirely leave you right away. I'd injected you with sedative, put you to bed, and just spoke to you. You wouldn't remember, but I was deeply personal."
Now that he mentioned it, Amelia recalled that she'd had dreams of him talking to her gently, mentioning confessions and how superior he thought she was to him. Not once had his voice hardened with bitterness and jealousy. And of course those full lips on hers…
"You stayed," she whispered in awe. "You cared for me. And I think I registered that you kissed me."
Though not blushing, he acted the most embarrassed she'd ever seen him being. "Did you, now? Well, I'll admit I was caught up in a bit of a moment…All right, on to your next question. I didn't seek you out on the basis that you were an Arkham doctor and I, a crazed patient on the loose. I had been asked to testify against Dent, as you may know, and I dodged their questions to avoid prison time. The last time I used my toxin, it was on Cody Hill, actually"—he lowered his voice to avoid being eavesdropped on—"I despised him for what he did to you, for humiliating you as a teenager. That was the one motive I had in doing it, terrifying him. I haven't touched my invention since."
Out of sheer incredulity, Amelia's mouth dropped open, grappling all that information Jonathan revealed to her. He had surrendered utilizing his toxin just like that? There was certainly no way the Scarecrow portion of his mind would have allowed it. Scarecrow, like a selfish toddler, would have incessantly goaded him to use that toxin to control Gotham.
"It wouldn't have been worth it." Jonathan shrugged. "It lost its entertainment value a while back for me. Someone intervened in that respect."
He gazed more intently at her, and she swore she caught a hint of tenderness in his eyes. She was no Helen of Troy, although in this case, it was the opposite of starting an epic war. If she could put her deducing skills to the test, getting the connotation of his steady gaze right, then she was the reason he stopped. This bewildered her worse.
She pressed on, "But, even after that, why didn't you approach me?"
"I was too proud and sure that you'd forgotten me. Almost a year ago, I…I…" Jonathan released another drawn-out sigh. "I was eating at a quiet restaurant and saw you with another man—"
"Only one date, I assure you," Amelia hurriedly defended. "With yet another dull man."
She laughed at her folly before asking, "Did you think that you weren't a tough act to follow, Jonathan?"
Shell-shocked at that question, he stepped back to let that question sink in for a second. Did Amelia imply that he'd actually gained her affection? All this time, when she could have found a man to share a serious relationship with (she could have been engaged by now!), and yet she'd held out for him of all people.
"Crazy as you maybe?" Scarecrow jokingly suggested, chortling at his own stroke of comic genius. "Come on, Jon, be happy for once in your life. Amelia digs you. Lighten up."
"So says the voice in my head," he whispered, deadpan, before saying louder to Amelia, "I would have thought you'd find someone else, yes."
She shook her head, smiling. "You give yourself too little credit. I mean, what do you do now instead of being the Scarecrow?"
"I'm a professor now, actually." Another twitch of the lips showed he tried smiling back, albeit weakly. "I teach psychology at the university. It took me about a year to study additional education courses, but other than that, I fit the qualifications. They were wary of me at first, naturally. But, as I hadn't been out committing crimes in close to two years, they'd placed a tentative amount of faith in me. I have as yet to fail them."
She simply couldn't resist beaming with pride at him. He'd taken the initiative then to build a better life for himself, doing something constructive out of the misery of his early life. Jonathan was a strong man, perhaps not stereotypically in the physical sense, but in the mental and emotional sense. Were ego and superego replacing id in his psyche? Well, if id would be all Scarecrow. Speaking of which…
"What about Scarecrow?" She clasped her hands behind her back studiously. "Has he been troubling you?"
Jonathan "hmmed" but then shook his head. "Not lately, no. Scarecrow has been more subdued recently, if truth be told. He hasn't gone on an obsessive rant about gassing or injecting. He will, occasionally, but I've been exceedingly better at discouraging him. I haven't the heart to kick him out of my mind, evicting him, you know. I've grown rather attached to him over the years."
Instead of condescending him over that fact like any other person would have, she replied, "Well, Scarecrow does have his redeeming qualities"—her face then turned solemn—"But, I would strongly advise that you visit me in my office some time, so I can prescribe you something. I genuinely want you to keep succeeding in this new phase of your life. How do you like teaching?"
Jonathan sniffed disdainfully, though Amelia could see through this ruse; he secretly thrilled to it. "It has its merits. Sometimes, the students can be rather irksome…"
Hypocrite, she thought smugly, noting that enthused smile that threatened to dance across his lips.
She folded her arms across her chest, bestowing him with a sly knowing look. "You do enjoy it."
"I look forward to it daily now," he confessed with the smile apparent.
"Good." Amelia stepped even closer to him.
She grasped both his hands in hers, and he willingly relaxed into this touch. It was as though the passage of time had done nothing to damage this oddly fascinating relationship they had. She couldn't get this vibe from any other man nor did she want to. Even if he'd still been in his Scarecrow disguise, she would have been equally as pleased to see him. It had been only two years, not that long yet an eternity.
Cautiously, Amelia traced his forearm, addicted to the sensation of his warm skin. Jonathan leaned closer so that she felt his breath on her face. However, she came across something etched on his arm, and she craned her neck down to take a closer look.
It was a thin white scar in the shape of a bird peck indentation. Come to think of it, there were quite a few more just like it on this arm alone…
He hurriedly snapped up straight, making to roll his sleeve back down. "You didn't see it, Amelia. Even if you did, for both our sakes, pretend you—"
"No, I won't," she told him firmly, rolling that sleeve up. "It's been years, Jonathan. Why would you still hide them?"
"They're a sign of my inexcusable weakness, of how I couldn't defend myself from an old woman's sick disciplinary methods."
"Do you know what I think?" She squeezed his hands.
He looked agonizingly at her, seeming to legitimately believe she would confirm his so-called weakness. Almost childishly, he shook his head, displaying further vulnerability.
"I think these scars prove that you're still alive. You beat her at her own game. You suffered but survived. And Jonathan, you are a strong man for that reason alone."
Jonathan's eyes softened. "How can your opinions affect me so much?"
"Because I care as much as you do." Amelia embraced him briefly before drawing back. "I suppose I ought to be going…"
"Before you do, Amelia, can I ask you something?"
Her heart swelled affectionately for this man. She didn't know if this would lead to love. Maybe it would, gradually, though a part of her informed her that it unfolded right now. It had started in that closet, perhaps earlier. She didn't know where this was going, but she would be brave enough to attempt seeing it through.
"Could I…I take you out to dinner tonight? For additional catching up?" he asked.
Amelia positively grinned both inside and out. "I would love to."
Jonathan smiled his widest that she'd ever seen, a half-ecstatic, half-arrogant smile. "Ah, I thought so."
"Your arrogance is showing," she joked, laughing pleasurably. "Well, I'll see you then."
What a day this had been! She couldn't wait until their first date. Oh, where would he take her? Amelia couldn't remember the last time she'd been this excited over a first date prospect. As she turned around back to her grocery cart, he lightly clutched her wrist.
"Wait," he intoned softly.
Almost as soon as she turned around, his lips were on hers.
How could she not have thought to do that sooner? Maybe she had been too anxious this time around, when he stepped up to kiss her. Oh, his lips were exquisite and beautiful, just like him. She'd sadly forgotten the taste of them and of him. No other man would be able to top his kissing. He was gentle yet passionate, pulling her intimately close with one hand on her waist and the other cradling her face. Amelia stroked his slightly rumpled dark brown hair lovingly.
And his arms, wiry yet strong…She adored this, and she craved for more.
It ended too soon for her tastes as their lips hesitantly parted when he drew back. Both of them were a little short of breath.
"I-I missed you," Amelia murmured, her eyes welling with the tears of joy he'd dryly joked about being absent last time.
"So did I," he breathed, lips brushing against hers with those words. "But…Funny, I thought you'd told me you'd never say that again."
She laughed on a dry sob. "I'm just as guilty of contradicting myself as you are, Jonathan."
He chuckled warmly. "To err is human, Amelia. So, pick you up at seven?"
Picking her up? Amelia received an incredible sense of wonderment at that moment. He was so phenomenal. Most of the men she'd dated had never offered to pick her up in their vehicles. She'd assumed chivalry was dead.
"That would be…perfect." She grinned again. "Where to?"
"I know an exceptional Italian place."
Italian! Not Thai and not some low-end burger joint either but an Italian restaurant. It took all of her proper restraint not to wiggle around in anticipation.
"I'll pay for everything," he offered.
Yes, please do! She thought happily.
This indeed was an unlikely man to display thoughtfulness.
"See you soon, Amelia." His hand still on her face, Jonathan leaned forward to give her a sweet, endearing peck on the lips.
"Um, Jonathan." An impulse seized her. "You can call me Amy on occasion. On, uh, special occasion because I still like Amelia better but…"
"Very well… Amy"—he winked—"But, only if you'll call me Jon sometimes."
"Sure, Jon." She smiled back.
"I don't give that justice compared to her. She's a keeper, Jon," Scarecrow commented, unbeknownst to her, but she would have been nevertheless flattered.
And so, Amelia left the grocery store beyond satisfied. Tonight, she would be going out with Jonathan Crane. Not Scarecrow. Jonathan.
Jon. She tested saying Jon on the drive back and found it to her immense liking.
Despite all those trials and tribulations with him, she wouldn't have chosen anyone else.
A/N: I think that last line does sums things up well, don't you think? I tried to add to it to make it somewhat better, but I couldn't think of anything, so this is the end result. Anyway, originally, this ending wasn't meant for Crane/Scarecrow to reform at all. Originally, it was going to be how the last chapter was, him dead, or him doing something even more deplorable in his career of fear. XD But, then, I went back and read Perides' fanfics in which she sometimes features a reformed Crane. And I found that to my liking. I wondered how that didn't cross my mind before. As long as he retained the sarcasm, the pride, and even the arrogance, he wouldn't be too OOC. And I also didn't have the heart to get rid of Scarecrow either.
Anyway, I'm really glad that you guys liked the story. Hope the ending was awesome for you. And thanks for making it popular. As I'm typing, it now has 65 reviews. For a 20-something chapter story, that's pretty good, so that's very cool. Tell me what you think of the ending!